Man saves neighbour from smoke-logged bungalow

Simon Jewell.

Simon Jewell. - Credit: Archant

Simon Jewell ran into the house to find his neighbour after his tumble dryer caught fire.

A MAN who rushed into a smoke-filled bungalow to save his neighbour from a fire has been praised by the fire service.

Simon Jewell had only popped home to fit a new washing machine on Friday morning when he noticed smoke pouring out from the property which backed onto his.

Without a second thought he jumped into his car and drove around to the house in the adjoining street.

“I opened the front door and was hit with a wall of smoke, exactly like you hear firemen describe it, thick and black,” said Mr Jewell.

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“I just ran in, I didn’t really think about it at the time.

“As I got further into the house I could feel the heat, but I couldn’t see anything.

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“I didn’t realise until I called out to the owner that he was sat right next to me in a chair.”

Mr Jewell led the owner outside, closing the doors behind him to try and contain the fire, before dialling 999.

“His face was absolutely blackened, and he kept saying to me ‘I think the tumble dryer is on fire’,” he said.

Fire crews from Ilfracombe and Combe Martin and an ambulance crew rushed to the scene at around 8.40am.

The owner of the house was treated at the scene by paramedics for smoke inhalation and the house was 80 per cent damaged by the smoke.

Darren Collacott, the incident commander from Combe Martin fire station said Mr Jewell had quite possibly saved the owner’s life.

He said: “When we arrived at the property it was totally smoke logged, and the tumble dryer in the utility room was on fire.

“Mr Jewell just happened to see the smoke and being a caring neighbour, went into the property, called for the owner and led him out of the house.

“The owner wouldn’t have lasted much longer in those circumstances; it only takes a couple of minutes of inhaling smoke and chemicals before you’re unconscious.”

After extinguishing the fire, the crews found smoke alarms in the house had no batteries in them.

Mr Collacott said: “This is the most important reason for smoke alarms, because you’re alerted quickly and can get out of the property.

“But also other people in neighbouring properties can hear the alarm as well, should anything happen to you.

“When smoke alarm batteries go flat they should be replaced, not taken out.”

Mr Jewell said he had not spoken to his neighbour since the incident.

“I didn’t really think about what had happened, I just went straight back to work afterwards,” he said.

“The fire service phoned me later that day and told me I’d done everything right, but if you asked me now what you should do I wouldn’t have a clue, I just did it.

“I don’t think of myself as a hero, I think it’s what anyone would have done.”

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